Thursday, October 02, 2014

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Past meets present for soldiers in special 4-day challenge

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TWC News: Past meets present for soldiers in special 4-day challenge
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It’s a mission that weds training and tradition.

Forty soldiers with Fort Hood's Third Cavalry Regiment's Third squadron are taking part in a unique challenge, known as a 'spur ride.'

"It's a cavalry legacy event where we honor our history, but we also challenge our leaders and challenge soldiers to excel," Lt. Col. Jonathan Byrom said. "They don't know what's coming next, they're surprised they have to adapt, they have to overcome and then achieve the mission."

It’s a four day test of their skills, including land navigation using their newest tool--the Stryker vehicles--which arrived at Fort Hood earlier this year.

"It's just a good opportunity to get familiarization with the vehicle. What it can do, how it gets stuck, how it gets rolled over, because that's a lot of things people don't think about," Cpt. Jarrin Jackson said.

Beyond the latest and greatest, the soldiers also get a feel for their roots by stepping into the shoes of a Calvary scout from the 1870s.

"It's important to know where we've come from,” Lt. Col Jonathon Bryom said. “To take the lessons learned from our past."

They're accessed on their reconnaissance skills, relying solely on a map drawn on parchment paper with charcoal.

"Take away our technology and it forces us to learn the fundamentals. You learn the fundamentals it makes you better," Cpt. Jackson said.

Those who successfully complete the four-day event will be awarded spurs, which serve as a symbol of accomplishment and source of pride for cavalry soldiers.

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